Mike Lantry, 1972
A simple link addition to the sidebar somehow resulted in the bottom half of my template getting eaten. Thanks, Blogger!
I am in the process of reconstructing things.
Update: Should be back to normal thanks to the Google cache.
So I get these emails from the Pittsburgh Sports Report from time to time with recruiting nuggets. These are not reproduced anywhere on the Internet to my knowledge, so linking to them on the board is not possible. Thus: I reprint here and then link. Yay.
First, PA WR/TE John Ditto is off the board:
"He is a little confused right now," according to Gateway coach Terry Smith. "But it's a good headache. He is going to choose from two excellent schools."
The two excellent schools in question are Pittsburgh and Penn State, believed by Smith to be the last two standing from an offer list of nearly three dozen. "Pitt, Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State are the final four," says Smith, "but I think it's going to be local."
Second, MI WR Taurian Washington told PSR that his top three are Michigan, MSU, and Wisconsin:
Washington is scheduled to attend camp at Michigan and Michigan State over the summer, and has unofficially named those two as well as Wisconsin as the early leaders for his service. Expect a decision from him before the end of summer.
I'll take that tradeoff: Washington is generally thought to be iffy on Michigan, but that top three and his school being noted Michigan pipeline OLSM would make a Washington commit probable.
...you're about to be really pissed off about large swaths of the content on this blog, because the World Cup starts on Friday and hooooo boy there is going to be some soccer postin'. Michigan news will be relayed as appropriate as well, of course, but prepare for World Cup stuff.
The latest piece of evidence that the Internet is a wonderful thing came about from my perusal of a NYT article on Barca wizard Ronaldinho. Therein I found this passage:
Ronaldinho received the ball in the center of midfield, 15 yards from the Chelsea penalty area. Around him were four Chelsea defenders. Ronaldinho left one of them for dead and avoided two more. The fourth, the last man standing between him and glory, was John Terry. Ronaldinho's response was to do what he does better than anybody else: the unthinkable. Having mesmerized the Chelsea ranks with the speed of his feet and the swerve of his dancing hips, he met brute force with brute force â€” and won. He shouldered the English Goliath â€” perfectly fairly â€” to the ground. And it was from this abject vantage that London's finest looked on, a picture of defeat, as the samba-loving Brazilian whipped the ball low and true, past the Chelsea goalkeeper and into the net.
Naturally, I wanted to see this thing for myself. A quick "Ronaldinho Chelsea" search later on YouTube and I have the thing in Spanish, French, English, something I don't recognize, the form of a fake Mastercard ad backed by the Decemberists, and Arabic... oh, Arabic:
When I heard the Arabic equivalent for "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAL," I quite literally burst from my seat and ran into the next room, propelled by mad laughter. The score is now Internet 1,220,450, Cotton Gin 0.
...then why don't you have a game tonight?
6/2/2006 - Pistons 78-95 Heat - Gone Fishin'
I live by a few simple guidelines. One: never be nice to people who don't deserve it. Two: buy anything on sale at the grocery store. Three: basketball brings woe. It is a vicious thing to care about. There's nothing so maddening as watching two teams take shots of seemingly identical quality and having all of the wrong ones go in, especially when you are an engineery type who can barely restrain yourself from screaming to the world at large that you understand there is no law of averages but there could be a first-born son involved if someone could maybe impose one for, say, the next hour or so in a specific place with a lot of Cubans and tools in white t-shirts.
But that's not why the Pistons will find themselves photoshopped onto some sportfishing boat or another next to a surprised Charles Barkley tonight, damned by their own hands and the tortously errant shots said hands launched. While game six seemed like a sort of cosmic middle finger, the Pistons were straight-up beat down in three other games of the series. That placed them squarely on a precipice where, say, the unpleasantly linked concepts of "Jason Williams" and "10 of 12" result in what will be a long, unpleasant offseason plunge.
No doubt the sort of person -- let's call him "Lew from Warren" -- who attributes all victories to some sort of triumph of the human spirit is feverishly calling into sports talk radio shows to decry the lack of same displayed by the Pistons over the past couple weeks, but as the sort of person who thinks Lew from Warren should be shot into space, I (unsuprisingly) disagree. The Pistons were defeated not because they were lax or cocky, but because they were badly outcoached and, as a result, outplayed. The human spirit can only take one so far when the offense is reduced to running the same ineffective screens time and again that have been scouted and largely defeated, when Ben Wallace's impact on the game comes mainly at the free throw line, when everyone not named Tayshaun Prince shoots like they need the bricks for a new garage.
In retrospect, the turning point in the East came when Pat Riley unceremoniously axed Stan van Gundy and brought the concentrated evil of his slicked-back hair back to NBA sidelines. Riley is an unpleasant, demanding man -- think of him in the mornings, greasing his hair with an evil glint in his eye, barking out orders to imaginary underlings, his eye subtly twitching as the consumed souls that power his earthly incarnation make futile bids for freedom -- who carved an imposing defensive team out of Wade, a decrepit 320 pound center, Jason Williams, Udonis Haslem, and Antoine Walker(!!!). Riley watched the tape, devised a plan, and obliterated the Piston offense. There was not much of a riposte from Saunders other than to look on grimly.
The Heat were a soft team when they struggled through the opening portion of the season, but Pat Riley is a hard man. The Pistons were a hard team under Carlisle and Brown, but Flip Saunders is a soft man. And thus goes a series.
More than a series was lost, however. At some point towards the end of the season, Ben Wallace went crazy. Maybe he can't stand Flip's offensive emphasis. Maybe he can't abide being treated like Michael Ruffin. Maybe he knows what I've feared all year: his skills are eroding, and quickly. I don't know what happened, but when Jason Maxiell made a crunch-time appearance sometime late in the season and it turned out it was because Wallace refused to go into the game things started to go awry. Wallace started bitching in the papers. He was outplayed by Sideshow Varejao against Cleveland. Even the devastating block against Shaq in game five only served to highlight how invisible he had been in games one through four.
Now he faces free agency, and one of two things will happen: he will get a cap-crippling offer from a very dumb team and take it, or he will not and he will resign. Option 1 will cause me to throw things at the television the first time I see Ben wearing anything other than a Detroit uniform. Option two will result in years of watching Ben decline. Trekkies have a term for this situation: Kobayashi Maru. It won't be the same without him, but it probably won't be the same with him either. And how am I supposed to deal with that?
Update 6/2: Linked to article on the four major D-I prospects at Warren Central in Indiana, including commit Jerimy Finch, and PittLive article on PA WR Toney Clemons. Removed PA H-back Steve Paskorz (ND); added OK OL Matt Romine, TN LB Chris Walker, CA RB Curtis Shaw. Linked to GBW article on Mallet.
Editorial Opinion: Stars have started coming down the pike from Rivals. Those who received the (somewhat) coveteted fifth star are being revealed in batches, as attempting to comprehend their beauty all at once would be a fatal endeavor. Of note thus far are QB commit Ryan Mallet, CB Ronald Johnson, and DT Joseph Barksdale.
Pittlive's article on Toney Clemons says that the internet says Clemons should go to Pitt, as he has much family there:
When word spread that track star Mycaiah Clemons was transferring from Virginia Tech to Pitt, it didn't take long for Internet message boards to do the mathematics.
That means Toney Clemons now has two sisters at Pitt (Mycah Clemons will be a senior) and puts the Panthers in the lead for the Valley stud receiver. Right?
(Yellow card for use of "stud" in reference to something other than horses or nails to article author Kevin Gorman.) Gorman than pulls a NSFMF:
As for his family influence, Clemons doesn't deny that he comes from a tight-knit family, but added that Michigan receiver Steve Breaston (Woodland Hills) is a cousin.
"People say 'Pitt' because of what my sisters are doing," Toney Clemons said. "But there's a lot of dudes who say, 'Get away.' They know location is not a factor to me and that I have friends and family all over the country."
FWIW, a tipster offers the, er, tip that certain Buckeye insiders believe Clemons to be a Michigan commit in all but name. That's somewhere between third and fifth hand, so take it as seriously as you want to, but Signs Are Good.
GBW has this tendency to write articles about West Coast recruits who are really really interested in Michigan and are then never mentioned again, but Curtis Shaw has an offer and plans to visit, so on the board he goes. Shaw doesn't seem attached to staying in California, either, with a list composed of Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, and Cal. Time will tell. Also: this is poor form for a man who presents wince-inducing typos to the world at large on a daily basis, but I have to highlight this glorious malapropism...
When the time comes that Shaw does begin to widdle down his list of schools, the back is still unsure of what criteria he will use in determining the right place for him.
...as one only gets so many opportunities in life to envision a prospective football commitment as a small, incotinent dog.
Steve Paskorz's Irish commit is shrug-worthy but presents an opportunity for sarcastic digs -- also known as "Brian's oxygen" -- so here we go. First, the South Bend Tribune's headline writer knows where is bread is buttered, turning a fairly innocuous commit article with this mention of Paskorz's existing offers...
"I accepted as soon as they offered," said the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Paskorz, who chose the Irish over Virginia, Michigan, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Iowa. "Everyone pretty much went crazy."
... into this headline:
OMG! Irish beat out Michigan for linebacker!!!!11!
Exclamation points and "OMG" mine. Also, Paskorz apparently doesn't watch any football past the high school level (which might explain his fascination with ND):
"We never really recorded my defensive stats because I always thought I was going to be a running back," Paskorz said.
Yes, this has been a Bangkok brothel of a paragraph: cheap and dirty but so, so satisfying. Hypothetically.
It's always bad news when an article starts like so...
It is no secret that Ryan Mallett has an absolute hammer of an arm.
(Hamster of an arm? Ham sandwich? I learn from a book. I am from Barcelona.) ... but it's too late to un-link it now. It's the same thing you've heard before: cannon/gun/artillery piece for an arm, well placed footballs winning the Battle of Britain, etc. "Knit picked" are his mobility and lack of supercool Billy Idol hair. &c.
Despite getting an offer from Michigan, Devon Torrence remains excluded from the happy hunting grounds on grounds of
library masturbation Buckeye fandom:
"It's no secret that I'm a Buckeye in my heart," Torrence said in a recent interview with Scout.com. "I really feel that Ohio kids should play for their state if given the chance. But if Ohio State does not offer me I have to seriously look at Michigan."
He also lists his two leaders as NC State and Arizona State. OSU likely knows the score with Torrence and wants to get him into camp so they can be really sure they want to offer, as when they do he'll commit the instant Tressel says "Escal--".
The board can be found in its entirety here.
5/31/06 - Pistons 91-78 Heat - Heat lead 3-2
Technical note: whenever I edited yesterday's liveblog it slapped a new post up, and since they all had identical timestamps they were in random order. Thus it appeared that updating stopped sometime in the second quarter. I've deleted all the duplicates, so if you would like to review my ravings -- these things always descend into slight madness -- they can be found a post down. Or just click here. The comments thread from the first is here, if you care to review it for some reason.
Courtesy Detroit Bad Boys.
That was more like it. There were passes and (some) open shots and (some) easy points off turnovers and defense and one spectacular moment when Ben Wallace impossibly obliterated what looked like a sure Shaq dunk, reminding the viewer why, exactly, the Palace is filled with whiteboys in afros and the only player in town with anywhere approaching his stature is Steve Yzerman, who's been playing in Detroit since packs of dinosaurs roamed Pangea.
Game five felt vastly different than the previous limp performances. Even though it was touch and go most of the way, this prone-to-night-terrors fan could not conceive of a loss in this situation after the Pistons settled in, grimly determined to take the series back to Miami. Along the way some enjoyment was had.
No doubt Pistons fans, myself included, wondered who kidnapped them and replaced them with slightly-functional android imposters after the first two games of the Cleveland series. The team shuddered and clattered about, intermittently resembling the regular-season juggernaut that stormed to the best record in the league but generally pissing away the advantages they had. I don't know the reasons for the Pistons' extended funk -- the statistic bandied about on the teevee was 3-6 in their last nine games -- but at least that thing they do when backed into a corner is still there.
If -- and I want to stress "if," as the chances the Pistons win the next two are certainly below 50 percent -- the Pistons manage to win this series, then no matter what happens in the Finals they'll have cemented their reputation as best Rasputins in the history of the NBA*. Shot, stabbed, drowned, maimed, assaulted with hamburgers, attacked by leering gangs of bicyclists, thrown from a balloon, shot across the Channel in a V2 rocket, beaten, locked in a room with Stephen A. Smith on speed, run over by extremely determined ant skateboarders, abducted, or stuffed into the overhead compartment on a flight to hell: it matters not. What yesterday seemed like an insurmountable challenge is now just one slightly improbable road win followed by game seven in the Palace. It could happen. Maybe. Probably not. But maybe.
As Terry Foster might say in his indelibly melodramatic fashion, hope flows through the veins of southeastern Michigan again. Now do it again, you bastards!
*(Probably. I would not describe my NBA knowledge as encyclopedic.)